More on the GeForce 7600 GS
With its $129-$149 MSRP, the GeForce 7600 GS is intended to compete directly with ATI’s Radeon X1600 Pro, a task that’s been handled pretty well by the GeForce 6600 GT up to this point. The GeForce 6600 GT and the rest of the GPUs in the GeForce 6600 line have all been phenomenal sellers for NVIDIA – in fact NVIDIA claims they’ve shipped well over a million GeForce 6 GPUs alone – but with TSMC’s 90-nm manufacturing process now mature and battle-tested with the GeForce 7300, NVIDIA’s ready to take advantage of the cost-savings that the smaller process brings to their entire graphics lineup. With the debut of G71 and G73, NVIDIA’s finally got all of their latest GPUs built at 90-nm, top-to-bottom.
So how does the GeForce 7600 GS stack up in comparison to the GeForce 6600 GT and Radeon X1600 Pro? Let’s take a look:
|Mainstream Graphics Comparison|
|GPU||Core Clock Speed (MHz)||Pixel Shaders||Pixel Fill-Rate (Mpixels/sec)||Texel Fill-rate (Mtexels/sec)||Vertex Shaders||Memory Speed (MHz)||Memory Bandwidth (GB/sec)|
|Radeon X1600 XT||590||12||2360||2360||5||690||22.1|
|Radeon X1600 Pro||500||12||2000||2000||5||390||12.5|
|GeForce 6600 GT||500||8||2000||4000||3||500||16|
|GeForce 7600 GS||400||12||3200||4800||5||400||12.8|
|GeForce 7600 GT||560||12||4480||6720||5||700||22.4|
As you can see, on paper the GeForce 7600 GS has all the necessary ingredients to be a very capable competitor to the Radeon X1600 Pro. One spec which isn’t listed above however is the number of pixels per clock and textures per clock. Since the RV530 core found within the Radeon X1600 family is limited to just 4 ROPs and 4 texture units, the X1600 cards lack some of the texturing horsepower found in competing GeForce boards. This has allowed the GeForce 6600 GT to remain competitive with the Radeon X1600 XT in most of today’s latest games (provided the game isn’t too shader-heavy) for instance. In fact, during our GeForce 7600 GS briefing, NVIDIA suggested that there may be multiple cases where the GeForce 7600 GS performs faster than ATI’s Radeon X1600 XT despite its lower price tag. We’ll just have to see about that one in our performance benchmarks a little later in this article…
We’ve been told that so far, only one GeForce 7600 GS board will be available upon launch with HDCP support. The manufacturer? ASUS. To be honest, we don’t have any specifics on the card, we don’t know if ASUS will be providing HDCP support via DVI or HDMI connectors. We also haven’t received the name of the product or its price. All we know is that ASUS is the only manufacturer that has committed to producing an HDCP-ready GeForce 7600 GS graphics card, making them the first manufacturer among NVIDIA’s board partners to bring an HDCP-compliant card to the retail market, none of the GeForce 7900 GT/GTX or GeForce 7600 GT boards that have been announced to date offer HDCP support. We’re hoping to get our hands on the board either later this week, or most likely sometime next week, but we honestly haven’t been given a firm ETA on when the ASUS card will be available. We have a strong feeling though that once it is finally announced it will be highly sought after among home theater PC users looking for a card capable of outputting HD-DVD and Blu-Ray movies at full resolution to an HDTV or HDCP-compliant monitor.
Unfortunately we don’t have a GeForce 7600 GS reference board to test with, nor were we able to obtain a retail card from one of NVIDIA’s board partners in time for this article. So in order to evaluate the performance of NVIDIA’s GeForce 7600 GS we’re instead going to do something a little different and underclock our GeForce 7600 GT to the 7600 GS’ clock speeds of 400/400. We realize that it isn’t the same as testing a true GeForce 7600 GS card, but given the circumstances we felt it was the best solution to the problem. Of course since we don’t have a card to test with we won’t be dabbling with overclocking. Normally we like to play around with overclocking, if only to get an idea of how well the GPU scales to higher clock speeds. In addition, NVIDIA’s reference boards are often produced on the exact same production lines many of NVIDIA’s board partners use for their boards, so overclocking the reference board can provide some indication of how far retail cards may be pushed when OC’ing.
Oh well, we’ll just have to save those tests for when the final, shipping retail cards arrive.
GeForce 7300 LE
GeForce 7300 LE
Low-profile GeForce 7300 LE
In addition to the GeForce 7600 GS, today NVIDIA’s also announcing the GeForce 7300 LE. The 7300 LE has actually been available in OEM systems as an option for awhile now, only today NVIDIA’s making it available at the e-tail and retail level with their board partners. The GeForce 7300 LE has 4 pixel pipelines with three vertex shaders and has 8 ROPs. In terms of clock speeds, the GeForce 7300 LE runs at 450MHz graphics core/333MHz memory (although some partner boards may be faster).
Like the GeForce 7300 GS, the 7300 LE supports NVIDIA’s TurboCache technology. NVIDIA expects that many of their board partners will equip their 7300 LE boards with 128MB of DDR2 memory onboard. This would run like a 256MB card in a PC equipped with 512MB of system RAM. NVIDIA also expects some of their partners to ship their boards with 256MB of memory onboard, these boards would support 512MB of memory in PCs with 1GB of system RAM. It’s also important to note that the GeForce 7300 LE has a 64-bit memory interface and supports PureVideo. The GeForce 7300 LE however isn’t SLI capable.